Syria: Is it Really a Gas Field War?

With US markets closed for the holiday, we can turn our attention to other developing matter this morning:

We have a somewhat speculative, but possible answer to one of the big question facing America right now:  “Was the administration’s decision to rope congress (belatedly) into the Syria debate, done with clean hands, or had something already happened which might indicate the Syrians have already deployed some high-tech Russian missiles and any first-strike could turn the region into a real powder keg?”

We get some hints in this direction from the (Google Translate) version of a report from the site. In it, the group alleges the possible shoot-down of an American F-22 Raptor along with four Tomahawk missiles.  A key point in the translation: “The paper loss of U.S. forces to aircraft F-22 advanced north of Jordan, which hosts on its territory five F-22, was the main reason to postpone the process of aggression against Syria…”

Although the period leading up to any outbreak of hostilities is certainly a window where a lot of Tokyo Rose type misinformation is expected,  I noted in my (unusual) Saturday update, the president’s remarks were delayed 41-minutes from the announced time.  So the window is there for a quick “Oh-oh, shoot down – let’s kick it to Congress and tell them about this on background since it means Russian missile air defenses are in place and operational…” decision to have been made.

As of this morning, SecState John Kerry is gearing up his information campaign as the Obama administration seeks authorization to ask from Congress; a move which the Wall St. Journal’s online eds figure will be a defining task for the history books.

While we’re warming up the popcorn and beer, and adjusting CSPAN for the upcoming debate, we wonder whether the F-22 Raptor – sold as the current “best of class” weapons system – can be shot down – as this will be key in any conflict.. 

Unfortunately, as was reported back in 2007 here, the F-22 may be stealthy, alright, but dog fighting is still an art and lesser planes (with better pilots) can take out Raptors with real ‘surprise and overwhelm’ tactics.  Sure, computers are great, but stick and rudder is what dog fights are about.

Now let’s zoom out a ways:  We can sketch in the set-up for president Obama’s meeting day after tomorrow with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.  Russia may have become pseudo-democratic, but they haven’t axed their war making plans and, more to the point, with the backing of Russian oil oligarchs, they appear to have plans to dominate global energy  Leverage, leverage. How to do it?  Raw military power sold to friends… and new high tech arms.  A  sampling on their latest:

While both the US and Russia will be busy the next couple of days tuning up their pose and posture for the Wednesday meeting, we see a number of other developments going on which will feed in to the conference. 

One is the claim by a Syrian minister that a US strike on Syria would benefit al Qaeda.  Which, considering the whole WOT (war on terror) is based on demonizing that group just doesn’t make sense.  Except that the conflict is in the lands where ‘’The enemy of my enemy is my friend…’ so things get seriously twisted up in policy-making.

If you’re looking for logic, notice the position of the key power-player in the Arab world, the Saudis who are supportive of a strike on Syria.

So Why War, Why Now?

My hunch is that it’s all about Leviathan, or had you forgotten?  Remember that huge gas find announced in 2010 off Israel, Greece and Cyprus? 

If you’re not aware of Leviathan, as most American’s aren’t, the Syrians wouldn’t seem to  have any major natural resources worth fighting over,  It could be dismissed as a kind of “so what?” country as the world plays out my 30+ year end-game Manufacturer’s Resource Wars scenario, which is now well underway.

imageIf we postulate that there’s usually an economic motivation behind warfare, since America doesn’t need more rocks and sand dunes,, we can see some very curious developments showing around the Leviathan gas fields off the coasts of Cyprus, Israel, Greece (and Lebanon).

According to Wikipedia (ref):

Lebanon initially argued that the field extends into Lebanese waters. Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri stated that Israel is “ignoring the fact that according to the maps the deposit extends into Lebanese waters,” Agence France-Presse reported on June 9.[11] Israeli Minister of National Infrastructures Uzi Landau responded “We will not hesitate to use our force and strength to protect not only the rule of law but the international maritime law,” in an interview. Robbie Sable, a professor of international law at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, has stated that the claim may be complex due to Lebanon’s border with Israel being indented, making it harder to establish where Israel’s sea boundary ends and Lebanese waters begin.[11]

In August 2010, Lebanon submitted to the United Nations its official view regarding the maritime border, indicating that it considered the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields to be outside Lebanese territory (though it indicated other prospective fields in the region may be within Lebanese territory). The US expressed support for the Lebanon proposal.

Informed speculation would be that the Leviathan fields could extend even further north than presently mapped, and this would put resource off the Syrian coast, which is where the Russians have a sizeable naval installation, (Tartus) granted them by the Assad government.  So, naturally, they will defend the potential new gas fields to the west because Syria would no doubt like a piece.

The tripartite agreement on Leviathan – doesn’t mention Syria is a pisser because why? It’s not off Syria’s coast.

However, Lebanon is a big pain in the side of Syria.  Damascus sits actually well south of the Lebanese port city of Beirut and is thus land-locked.

With Peak Oil arriving, in a shark-tooth fashion, the Obama administration, aligned with Israel and the key energy player in the region, Saudi Arabia, has a keen interest in denying the Syrian- Russian group, and perhaps the Chinese longer term, access to key offshore energy resources, which will be utterly crucial on the backside of Peak Energy.

Pardon me for launching into part of a recent Peoplenomics article (on Peak Energy/Oil) but using official US Energy Information Administration data on the total amount of both oil and gas resource consumed by the USA, we can see two things extremely clearly in the following charts:  First is the ugly fact that despite all the hyperbole about shale resource, US domestic oil production peaked in 1973:


And the second chart shows rather unequivocally, that total US energy consumption has already peaked as of August 2005:


All of which begins to explain the criticality of Leviathan as a resource to be developed, and one which has a Russian naval base sitting less than 100-miles from prime drilling areas protecting a country whose capitol is barred from exploiting the resource because of the pesky independence of Lebanon, which the Syrians have been trying to eliminate for years. 

In fact, Wikipedia points us to events aimed at establishing Syrian dominance of Lebanon just in the past eight years:

On 14 February 2005, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated in a car bomb explosion.[46] Leaders of the March 14 Alliance accused Syria of the attack,[47] while the March 8 Alliance and Syrian officials claimed that the Mossad was behind the assassination.[48] The Hariri assassination marked the beginning of a series of assassinations that resulted in the death of many prominent Lebanese figures.[nb 2]

The assassination triggered the Cedar Revolution, a series of demonstrations which demanded the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon and the establishment of an international commission to investigate the assassination. Under pressure from the West, Syria began withdrawing,[49] and by 26 April 2005 all Syrian soldiers had returned to Syria.[50][51]

The UNSC Resolution 1595 called for an investigation into the assassination.[52] The UN International Independent Investigation Commission published its preliminary findings on 20 October 2005 in the Mehlis report, which cited indications that the assassination was organized by Syrian and Lebanese intelligence services.[53][54][55][56]

On 12 July 2006, Hezbollah launched a series of rocket attacks and raids into Israeli territory, where they killed three Israeli soldiers and captured a further two.[57] Israel responded with airstrikes and artillery fire on targets in Lebanon, and a ground invasion of southern Lebanon, resulting in the 2006 Lebanon War. The conflict was officially ended by the UNSC Resolution 1701 on 14 August 2006, which ordered a ceasefire.[58] Some 1,191 Lebanese[59] and 160 Israelis[60] were killed in the conflict. Beirut’s southern suburb was heavily damaged by Israeli airstrikes where Hezbollah military infrastructure was deeply embedded among the civilian population.[61]

The continued support of the Syrians for Hezbollah is further evidence that the effort to destabilize the region is in play with major Russian support because this would give Vlad Putin even more control over the world energy picture.  On point, I trust you noticed the recent headlines in The Telegraph that  the “Saudis offer Russia secret oil deal if it drops Syria.”

Russia is playing the long game on energy and Syria is part of it.

I’ve laid this out for subscribers in recent weeks leading up into this event, but since you might have some “down-time” to actually let this sink in a bit, I decided to lay it out in simplified form because this is likely the kind of picture which the State Department will be painting for Congress when debate kicks off this week.

Whether the nerve gas in Syria was mishandled by rebels, possibly supplied by the Saudis, or whether the nerve gas was indeed lobbed in by Syrian forces loyal to Assad, the real deal to me seems like another energy play over a mega-field.

Wars are seldom about high moral ground anymore, or the US would have intervened in the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, or any of the other ethnic cleansings which have broken out periodically.  Where we do seem to be able to muster up some gumption is where cash is involved and energy resources on the scale of Leviathan will be more critical than you can imagine in less than 20-year’s time.

Marketing of wars is about making peace – at least that’s the sales pitch.  But under the covers it’s usually about making money –  or at least rounding up the resource to keep or expand a lifestyle – as appears the case here when you test fit the pieces.

You did catch the headline:  “Revealed:  Government let British company export nerve gas chemicals to Syria”?

More after this…

Passings:  After the Frost

Speaking of Middle East developments, we note the passing of legendary interviewer David Frost this weekend of a heart attack on a cruise ship in the Med.  Our news analyst in Winnipeg has more:

Dear Mr. Ure,

Al Jazeera posted Sir David Frost’s obituary at 0246Z 01Sep echoed by the BBC Breaking News at 0622Z. Interestingly, crowd-sourced Irish news aggregator tweeted at 0651Z echoed by the BBC at 0655Z that the British prime minister was to have been interviewed next week by Sir Frost. This apparently false information was subsequently removed from both respective news sites. Here is the Downing Street transcript of their 9/9/11 meeting: “This is going to happen very quickly“.

You may recalled Frost also conducted the interview with Benazir Bhutto in which she revealed that Osama bin Laden had been murdered previous to late 2011.  However, as shown in this video, there’s been some creative editing of the Frost-Bhutto interview to wipe out that damning evidence.

Which likely is why Frost in his last years found himself on Al Jazeera rather than the BBC.

After Collapse: Texas – the Country

Fine read over at WorldNetDaily this morning about how a Texas official is speaking openly about how Texas might have to survive is the US economy implodes, as many are forecasting.  Kick-ass quote in the article:

“One of the things I’ve focused on in the last 10 years of my public sector life is preparing Texas to be a prosperous and safe place to work, regardless of what happens outside our borders,” he said.”

Great report by WND – definitely worth a read.  Especially by those of us living in the state who remember the Republic of Texas movement.

Spy Birds?

I used to joke with my kids (when they were very young) that all those birds sitting on phone lines were “police birds” that would call in the police department when they saw crimes being committed.  For some reason, they were skeptical of my claims.

Yet, here we have a report out of Egypt that yes, a “spy bird” has been detained.

Make me want to read Lathe of Heaven again.

Fire Check

Still going – that Yosemite fire in California which is now the fourth largest in that state’s history.

We we watching one of the foreign (English-language) FTA TV channels this weekend and Elaine caught them pronouncing it “YO-seh-might.”  Right up there with “CHIC-ah-go”.

Quake Check

6.5 quake hit off Indonesia on Sunday.  But the one earthquake story I have circled this morning is that the new “Bay Bridge made to withstand major earthquake” which I’ve snipped to put along with my “Man will never fly” and “Titanic will never sink” quotes for future reference.

Cuba to America Swim

Looks like endurance swimmer Diana Nyad will make it this morning to become the first person to swim from Cuba to the US without a shark cage

Nice to see a 64-year old kicking it like this.  Makes me want to do some exercise, too….like mixing up pancakes…